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Depublication of California Court of Appeal Decisions: ...Using Print Sources

This guide provides pertinent information regarding the rules for publication of appellate court opinions as well as information on how to determine whether a particular appellate case can be cited as legal authority.

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...Using Print Sources

Using the Official Reports (i.e., California Reports & California Appellate Reports)

Recent Cases (i.e., still in the official advance sheets): Researchers should consult the Cumulative Subsequent History Table in the back of the most recent advance sheets published.† The Cumulative Subsequent History Table is arranged alphabetically by the case name and tracks significant case history until that case is final and reported in bound volume form. If the opinion is not to be published in the bound volume, its history will likewise be removed from the table at the time of publication of its corresponding bound volume unless it remains under review. Remember that when a review or rehearing is granted, the superseding of the Court of Appeal decision is automatic and not specifically stated in the table. Unless the opinion is affirmatively ordered republished, in whole or in part, by the Supreme Court, it may not be cited as authority.

Cases in Bound Volumes of California Appellate Reports: Researchers can simply turn to the cited case to determine whether it has been depublished. If the notes indicate that pages have been “omitted,” it means that the opinion(s) that appeared on those pages were depublished at the time that volume was issued. This is so that cases published in the bound volumes retain the same pagination as in the advance sheets. Note that there is a substantial lag time between the publication of the advance sheets and the corresponding bound volumes. If a decision of a Court of Appeal is not final at the time the bound volume is published because it remains subject to Supreme Court review, the opinion is withdrawn from the bound volume. For tracking purposes, “review granted” opinions that were withdrawn from the bound volumes will remain available during the pendency of the Supreme Court review in the annual Review Granted Opinions Pamphlet and its midyear Cumulative Supplement. For the most current status of a “review granted” case, check the Cumulative Subsequent History Table in the back of the latest official advance sheets.

†Advance sheet pamphlets are published approximately every 10 days. The Reporter of Decisions indicates that about 20 - 25 days should be allowed to permit data posting. The information in the most recent advance sheet may be updated by consulting the case information feature of the California Courts Web site or calling the clerk’s office at (415) 865-7000.

Using the West’s California Reporters (Unofficial)

The West Reporter system treats superseded and decertified opinions differently from the official reporters.‡ The text of superseded or decertified opinions is not deleted from the California Reporter (nor the Pacific Reporter). In addition, the notations used by West require that the user understand the Rules of Court and the effects of particular orders on one’s ability to cite to the case as precedent. Because of this, before citing to a California Court of Appeal case appearing in any West reporter, you must check to make sure that you understand its official status.

  1. California Subsequent History Table (KFC 47.2 C3 – Level 2)

    This Table is issued on an annual basis and is arranged by California Reporter citation. It supplies the citations to Supreme Court orders that affect cases from volume 248 of the Pacific Reporter, first series, except for depublication information, which is covered from volume 1 of the California Reporter. The California Reporter advance sheets’ Cumulative Review, Rehearing and Hearing Table updates this table.
     
  2. California Reporter Advance Sheets

    The advance sheets for the California Reporter include two tables which can assist researchers in determining the status of a decision. These tables are found in the preliminary pages at the front of the advance sheets. The first is the Case History Table, which, like its official counterpart, the Cumulative Subsequent History Table, lists cases by their names. The Case History Table covers all cases still in the California Reporter advance sheets; cases are deleted from the table once the bound California Reporter volume is published. The second is the Cumulative Review, Rehearing and Hearing Table, which is organized by West Reporter cite and gives subsequent history information. Cases that are decertified by Supreme Court order are identified (West uses the phrase “not officially published”). The advance sheets also contain Parallel Citation Tables. These tables give no information on the granting of review, transfer and hearing and rehearing, so they should not be relied upon to ascertain an opinion’s official status.
     
  3. Depublication Information in the West Reporters

    The full text of all opinions originally certified for publication appear in the bound volumes of the West reporters. Information that an opinion was not certified for official publication (decertified) has also been included in the California Reporter since about 1972 when the practice became common. Depublication or partial publication information (West uses the phrases “not officially published” or “ordered not published”) is noted as follows:
     
    • If the Supreme Court granted either a review or a hearing, the full opinion remains in the West reporter, but a note on the grant of review (or hearing or rehearing) appears just after the date of the decision in the caption of the case. Researchers are presumed to know that the grant of review (or hearing) supersedes the opinion.
       
    • If review of a Court of Appeal decision is requested and denied, but the Supreme Court decides to decertify the lower court opinion, the information is noted with an asterisk following the “review denied” notation.
       
    • If the Supreme Court, on its own initiative or in response to a motion, decertifies an opinion, that information is noted with an asterisk following the date of the decision.
       
    • If the Supreme Court certifies only portions of a decision for official publication, the full text of the decision remains in the California Reporter. Information on which portions of the opinion were not certified for official publication is noted with an asterisk following the date of the opinion.

‡California Supreme Court opinions appear in both the California Reporter and the Pacific Reporter. Court of Appeal decisions were published in the Pacific Reporter from 1905 to 1959. When the California Reporter was introduced in 1959, Court of Appeal decisions were dropped from the Pacific Reporter and now appear only in the California Reporter.